Chairs-The Journey Begins

Like a lot of woodworkers I have avoided making chairs.  I can’t really pinpoint why though.  Something about the process just always seemed out of reach.  But, enough is enough!  We need chairs here at the hillbilly hacienda, so chairs it is.

The reality is that I have been working my way up to this for a while.  Starting with staked tables, stools (staked and shaker) and even a couple of plywood contraptions that were chair shaped.  I’ve read the chapters on chairs in the “Anarchist’s Design Book” more times than I can count.  Watched the “No Fear Chair Making” video enough times to damn near recite the audio verbatim.  The same goes for Don Webber’s “Build a Welsh Stick Chair” video.

So I gathered up what was in the shop and started making a version of the staked chair in the ADB.  There were some challenges, but it came together pretty well.

The process left me a little flat though.  I like the chair and it is comfortable, but…I don’t know how to explain it…something felt off.

Then my copy of John Brown’s “Welsh Stick Chairs” arrived.  I read it twice the first night. Not really a “how to” book, but I found inspiration in JB’s words and attitude toward the making of his chairs.  So I had a second go.

No plans.  No lathe.  A very minimal tool kit.  I just began assembling bits and pieces as I saw fit and as they lent themselves to the chair.  Now I was on to something.

I have developed a plan/theory for my chair making.  I’ll develop a few basic seat patterns from which to choose.  The shape of the back rail or arm bow will be dictated by the grain in the wood.  Thus each chair will be unique.  In other words, instead of trying to force the wood to a planned shape, I’ll let the wood dictate the shape.  Then build around that.  We’ll see how this idea pans out after several chairs.

Anyway, I jumped right in and started working on my third chair using this method and today I completed its assembly.  Tomorrow I’ll lay on the first coat of milk paint.

I apologize for the lack of “how to” in this post.  If your interested in the steps I took to put these chairs together you can have a look at my Instagram account.  I’ve also put together something of a “cheat sheet” that contains some basic notes on how these chairs go together.

Don’t let anything prevent you from trying your hand at making chairs.  It is really no different from any other process in wood working.  Just go for it.

Greg Merritt


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Brand New 100yr Old Table

My niece just graduated college and it only took here a couple of weeks to secure her first teaching position. Of course that job is out of state and she starts at the end of July. Therefore she is in a mad dash to find her first apartment or house and get moved before then. Continue reading

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Andon and Kumiko-the Journey Continues-2

The goal for this most recent andon lamp was to create a stand that would essentially turn it into a floor lamp. I went through several iterations on paper and finally concluded that my best option would be to create a stand from which the andon would be hung. A chance trip up into the “magic attic” served to further focus my efforts. Continue reading

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Andon and Kumiko-the Journey Continues

Management has informed me that the little andon would make good Christmas gifts for this year and that I should get busy making several. Fine with me. At least I have plenty of notice this time and the extra time means I can do a little further experimentation.

Since this will be somewhat of a production run, I took a hard look at how to economize the materials. I found that, by adjusting the size slightly, the width of a standard small Continue reading

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Ad Hoc Little Andon

Upon the completion of my first to andon projects I realized that I had enough bits and pieces left over to maybe, possibly build a smaller version. Plus, I have been bitten by the kumiko bug and wanted to try a couple of additional ideas on that front. So I jumped right in and milled up the remaining stock that I had for the outer frames and worked out the size of this andon based on that availability. Continue reading

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HB Andon (Shoji) Lamp

One thing that I am doing as I update old drawings is to review my sketch books for ideas that never made it off the page.  One such idea was for a Japanese style lamp (andon).  Originally, the andon was a lantern consisting of a washi (paper) covered wooden frame which was lite with either a candle or oil lamp. Continue reading

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Mini Three Drawer Chest

As I update old drawings, I will post those that I hope you will find useful.  Some may be new versions of those that you have seen before.  Others will be making a first time appearance here on the blog. Continue reading

Posted in Design, Illustrating, Mini Three Drawer Chest | Tagged , | 6 Comments